Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Update on Harris County Family Incident

As you can see, your voice is being heard.  All those that signed the petition, sent emails (here & here) to elected officials and made a phone call is making a difference.  If you have not done your part please take a moment to make your voice be heard. 

Given all of your efforts thus far, we have yet to see any concrete changes being made and to date.  NO action against the deputies has been taken, NO formal apology has been issued, NO training program has been put in place.  

We are demanding that ACTION be taken NOW by the officals.  Keep posted.    

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Community Alert: Take Action Now

(Houston, Texas) December 10, 2008 - As reported on Monday, a Sikh family that reported a burglary last week was handcuffed, asked about the "bombings in Mumbai", and told by an officer that "he knows Muslims." Watch video on what happened here and here. The Sikh Coalition requests that the community show its response and take action now:

Sign a Petition
Harris County Sheriff-Elect Adrian Garcia is visiting the Sikh Center of Houston on Sunday, December 14, 2008. He will be the new Sheriff for Harris County next year. This petition will be directly handed over to him, so please help us gain as many signatures as possible.

Submit a Question
Harris County Sheriff-Elect Adrian Garcia is visiting the Sikh Center of Houston on Sunday, December 14, 2008. During his visit the Tagore family and sangat members will be able to ask him questions on the actions he will take in response to the treatment of the Tagore family by police officers. Submit a question for the Tagore family to ask Sheriff-Elect Garcia directly when he visits the Gurdwara.

Make a Call
Harris County Sheriff-Elect Adrian Garcia (when he takes office) along with Judge Ed Emmet are charged with running the Harris County Sheriff's Office. Please call their offices directly and register your concern with the conduct of Harris County Sheriffs' deputies towards the Tagore family.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harris County Police Harassed Sikh Family

It was Wednesday night November 26th 2008, a day before Thanksgiving when we called the police to report a burglary that took place at our house. Only to be harassed by the very police we called in. This has got to stop! We can't take it anymore.

The misbehavior by Harris County police officers towards my family when only hours before our own home was burglarized in Houston is appalling. The officers' behavior sent a loud message to Sikhs and Muslims that we are second class citizens.

At the beginning of the Thanksgiving weekend, we came home to find a window broken and master bedroom ransacked. When we called 911 to report the crime, Harris County Sheriff's police officers were dispatched to investigate. But instead of pursuing the thieves, the police officers began grilling us. Officers ordered my sister Ms. Kawaljeet Kaur to hand over her kirpan -- a religious article mandated by the Sikh faith -- which she wore over her shoulder. Ms. Kaur offered to leave the room if her kirpan made the officers uncomfortable, but to no avail.

Instead, she, along with me, my mother and cousin, were handcuffed and led into the street. Officers verbally abused us as they searched. An officer applied pressure to my sister's back as she sat on the ground. One officer asked us whether we had "heard about the bombings in Bombay" while another told them that he "knew about Muslims". Why were these comments made by the police??

Hours later, we were released without being arrested or charged.

"How can the police stop us from practicing our religion in our own home?" asked Ms. Kaur. "We called the police to help us. Instead, they humiliated and harassed us. They handcuffed my 60-year-old mother in front of my 8-year-old niece. They think they can get away with it because we look different."

"What happened at the Tagore home was shameful," said Amardeep Singh, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. "Through a combination of violence, racial prejudice and intimidation, the Harris County police turned innocent victims into perpetrators."

We ask the Harris County to terminate four police officers involved in the incident and issue a formal apology to us while ensuring proper training is provided to all police personnel.